\\\ BODY IMAGE ISSUES AFFECT MALES TOO ///
Body image issues are at an all time high within our perfection-focused society. We are told to conform to impossible beauty standards, to fit a certain body shape and that if we don’t look a certain way, we aren’t beautiful. We have diet fads and crazes thrust upon us to try and encourage us to get that “perfect” figure that everybody seems to want and we are picked apart by the media and told to rebuild ourselves in their perfect ideal. But, women are not the only ones to suffer.
Us males are also given the ‘perfection’ blueprint to aspire to. We should be strong, muscular and show no emotion. We are continuously told to “Man Up” and to “Be a Man”.
Yes, women have had to deal with this sort of scrutiny for much of their lives, but don’t assume that men don’t know the feeling either. Truth be told, we are all victims of the media. No one is safe.
Only within the last few years have fuller-figured women graced the media, with stand alone stores catering to size 14 upward. The fuller-figured gentleman does not have this luxury. You will almost never see a heavyset lumberjack-esque man gracing the cover of a clothing catalogue. Or a fashion magazine. Or an in-store poster.
You will, however, see a tanned, toned, oiled men gracing the glossy pages of almost every magazine you reach for, every chain clothing store and everywhere else. It is an unrealistic expectation for men. And a lot of women love the way these male models look, so that adds fuel to the fire in the male mind. Like women, we to feel that we have to fit this extreme standard in order to be found attractive by the opposite sex.
Sure ladies, you have been dealt a cruel hand by way of the media. You truly are under scrutiny. Media tells us that celebrities with curves are too fat, but when those same celebrities decide to lose weight, they are too thin and the media suggests that they are suffering from an eating disorder.
Thankfully, we the public don’t keep quiet anymore. We kick and scream and tell the media we want more diversity of size, sex and gender, and sometimes they listen. But for us men, like we’ve always been taught, remain silent and get on with life. You won’t often see us complaining, we simply go with it. The ‘strong, silent type’ is how most men are conditioned.
When a chubby school boy is bullied by his peers about his weight, barely an eyebrow is raised. When he is called a slob by his workmates, he is expected to let it roll right off his back. In today’s society, the ideal man should be tall, rugged, handsome, muscular, an excellent lover, strong and emotionless.
“Hitting the gym” is at an all-time high. Bulking and gains is the next big thing. Being big and muscular is where it’s at. Is it any wonder why the slender gentlemen and the chubby gentlemen avoid the gym? At least women have ladies-only gyms that promote friendship and acceptance to all. If a male only gym opened, imagine the uproar.
The truth is, women are not the only ones who can suffer from poor self-image. And to assume that men don’t, is absurd.
As a male, I have spent most of my Teen & adult life battling body image issues. As a gym owner, exercise professional and coach – it is expected or assumed that I should be amazing at all things fitness and have a body to match. For most of this time, this was not the case. Even now, having put my money where my mouth is, leading by example and completing our nutrition challenge #projectrig I still have body issues. The only thing that has changed, is that rather than seeking improvements in body composition, its pressure to keep the results i have achieved.
I think everyone and anyone will suffer from body image issues to some degree. The idea of “as long as you are happy with what you see in the mirror, that’s all that matters” is bullshit. We are human, and will compare ourselves to others in some regard and to some degree – it is in our competitive nature. I only suggest try focusing more on what your body can do vs what it looks like – aim for improving the functionality of your body. The better your body functions, the healthier you will feel, and just maybe you’ll be happy with the composition results that follow.
Stats as at Nov 3rd, 2015:
Body weight: 86.1kg
Deadlift: 425#/ 192.7kg
Snatch: 210#/ 95.2kg
Power Snatch: 175#/ 79.3kg
Clean: 255#/ 115.6kg
Stats as at Feb 24th, 2016:
Body weight: 84.6kg
Deadlift: 460#/ 208.6kg
Snatch: 220#/ 100kg
Power Snatch: 205#/ 93kg
Clean: 285#/ 129.27kg